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Cinematography that strikes you 
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Post Cinematography that strikes you
This year - Skyfall's depicture of the Highlands (briefly and inadequately captured in my Avatar).

Beautiful. I really envy those who really can make a picture speak a thousand words.

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Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:45 pm
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Post Re: Cinematography that strikes you
The footage of the Highlands is definitely beautiful, and it's also a cool narrative marker that transitions the film out of the high-tech world of MI-6 and into the earthier, more elemental world of Bond's rustic inner self. It looks as though the characters have gone back in time. It reinforces Skyfall's recurring theme of going full-circle and being reborn. Roger Deakins is so damn good at this stuff--taking pictures that maximize both form and function.

There's a similar thing going on in Moonrise Kingdom, which has a fantastical storybook feel that gets reflected in the symmetrical, centered, flat-on orientation of the compositions.

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Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:51 pm
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Post Re: Cinematography that strikes you
One word: Amelie.


Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:53 pm
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Post Re: Cinematography that strikes you
Oh my gawd, where to start. In the past there were some really great cinematographers. Technology often got in their way because what audiences watches were bad prints (generation loss), often worn out with dust and scatches and even splices. With recently restored versions we can all appreciate their genius.

The first cinematographer which comes to my mind is Stanley Kubrick. He started out as a genius stills photographer and continued approaching his painstakingly cinematography as such. To fantasic results. One of the very best.

Ridley Scott started as a director for tv commerials and always was a hands-on cinematographer. Not just regarding holding the camera itself, but also coming up with set design and lightling.

I won't even start about Douglas Trumbull - This man is pure genius.

Sir Alfred Hitchcock had brilliant and influential ideas. He must be mentioned.

Steven Spielberg is another name. His consistently great cinematography speaks for itself.

I would like to add Ron Fricke. The tech whiz behind such awesome movies like "Koyaanisqatsi, Baraka and Samsara" he is the master and pioneer of time lapse photography and computerized 65mm film (= 70mm prints) footage.

There are so many more. During the 1980s there was a new approach to cinematography. Don't just throw white light at anything, treat any shot as if it were a classic, Rhembrandt-ish painting with light from one side and soft filling light from the other side. Oh my gawd, I could talk about it forever. Recent digital cameras allowing for natural light (something S. Kubrick did decades ago - successfully with traditional film cameras) add further realism and beauty to cinematography.

Some classic examples:

Stanley Kubrick's use of fisheye lenses. Steven Spielberg's light beams. Hitchcock's zoom and tracking shot (Vertigo) perfectly homaged by Spielberg in "Jaws". Brian DePalma's beautiful use of soft filters (Carrie, Dressed to Kill, etc.). Steven Spielberg (again) hiring a tech whiz cinematographer to get that (by now a cliche) hard strobing effect (resembling old WWII 16mm fixed focus wind-up cameras) with drained color.


Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:15 pm
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Post Re: Cinematography that strikes you
Janusz Kaminski has been Spielberg's cinematographer since Schindler's List and he's won a couple of Academy Awards.

I was noticing the other day that The Hunger Games's cinematography is top-notch. It was done by Tom Stern, who usually works for Clint Eastwood, but is better here.

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Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:36 pm
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Post Re: Cinematography that strikes you
One cinematographer who comes to mind immediately is Michael Ballhaus who's worked most notably with Scorsese. But also with Robert Redford, Coppola, John Sayles and many others.

I thought of the cinematography in Michael Mann's Last Of The Mohicans and looked to see that the Cinematographer was Dante Spinotti. He's another great one. He's worked with Mann on a few of his films but has also lensed LA Confidential. Also noted the irnoy: he lensed both versions of Red Dragon: Manhunter and Brett Ratner's less impressive Red Dragon.

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Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:25 am
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Post Re: Cinematography that strikes you
The Thin Red Line (1998) is one of the most beautifully shot film's I can recall seeing on the big screen. John Toll has a pretty impressive resume: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001799/

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Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:47 pm
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Post Re: Cinematography that strikes you
wisey wrote:
The Thin Red Line (1998) is one of the most beautifully shot film's I can recall seeing on the big screen. John Toll has a pretty impressive resume: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001799/


On a similar note, Emmanuel Lubezki was the cinematographer for The New World and The Tree of Life and has a very interesting resume: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0523881/.

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Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:22 pm
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Post Re: Cinematography that strikes you
Syd Henderson wrote:
wisey wrote:
The Thin Red Line (1998) is one of the most beautifully shot film's I can recall seeing on the big screen. John Toll has a pretty impressive resume: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001799/


On a similar note, Emmanuel Lubezki was the cinematographer for The New World and The Tree of Life and has a very interesting resume: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0523881/.


I watched A Series of Unfortunate Events the other night for the first time since its release. I enjoy the film but if any aspect stands out its Lubezki's work.

One film often neglected when considering cinematography is The Nightmare Before Christmas, but seeing as it was most definitely shot with a camera I feel no regret saying it deserves notice here.

Lost in Translation remains one of the best shot films of the last fifteen years.

Jeanne Dielman. If you've seen the film you know it belongs here.

Out of more recent films The Social Network and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy both stand out as well. Their cinematography is smart, subtle and entirely brilliant.

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Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:26 am
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